Cities across the country are vying to be Amazon's new second home, after the retail company unveiled a Request for Proposals (RFP) aimed at selecting the site of an additional headquarters to complement its Seattle campus. While a number of city governments are eager to participate in the bidding war, critics are calling Amazon's proposition a "race to the bottom," with civic leaders competing to see who can offer the multi-billion-dollar corporate giant the biggest incentives to build in their cities—at potentially high prices for taxpayers.
When it started during the 90s Amazon selected the state with the most regressive tax structure to set up shop, so this has been its business model all along.
And a very successful model it has been
We can remain its slaves, or we can eliminate its middlemen and rule ourselves:
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So I’m curious, what is the great advantage to a city that “wins?” Not additional tax revenue, since Amazon will not be generating any for that city through the tax exemptions they are getting. Not more business/sales tax, since the Amazon HQ is not a store that is selling anything to anyone. So I guess it means a few more jobs for the city’s inhabitants? Probably at rock-bottom wages with few if any benefits. Big deal. I don’t get why it is considered a “boon” for cities. The same goes for when Wal-Mart considers building a mega-store in a town - each town falls all over themselves trying to lure Wal-Mart by offering huge tax breaks or usually total tax exemptions if it will build its store in their town. The one with the best deal for Wal-Mart wins. Then once built, a few dozen shitty jobs that pay minimum wage with no benefits are the only gain for the town, while it loses millions in property tax revenue that any other business on that location would have to pay, and dozens of local small businesses have to close up shop due to being unable to compete with Wal-Mart.
How is this a “win?”
And it won’t stop with this nest-for-a-while. Bezos and his board of vultures will keep looking for greener pastures and if a better deal comes along will pull up stakes and leave this “winner” holding the civic bag - empty of course. This is a behavior that Walmart gets far too little “credit” for.
You have to admit the march of progress though. In decades past this was done but not so quite out in the open. An RFP soliciting a race to the bottom. Society rotting from the top down.
This is all the buzz in Pittsburgh right now. Under the yuppie-loving Mayor Peduto, Google, Uber and a wealthy tech geek snob invasion has driven rents, home process, and homelessness through the roof. This invasion benefits very few native residents - generating nothing but precarious low-wage non-union restaurant and service jobs for most Pittsburghers in service to the yuppie elites. Class divisions have become starker than ever.
Amazon (which I personally refuse to do business with) can go somewhere else.
I sure miss the old Pittsburgh of the 1990s that was real, unpretentious, culturally and old-country-ethnically diverse. Tech-yuppies are shocking in their sameness of style and attitude - eve to that uniform sort-of nasal Midwestern English I call the “tech geek accent” which has replaced the Italian, Ukrainian, Polish and Yinzer-English which once was heard in the neighborhoods.
Indeed, on top of all the other stuff, one of the most depressing thing about the modern tech corporation variant of capitalism is the stunning undifferentiated green goo of cultural homogeneity it has created in the millennial generation wherever I go.
Lots of miserable-wage jobs in the upscale restaurant and brewpubs, frequented by the rich tech geek class. Also veterinarians and assistants and pet-daycare centers taking care of the yuppie’s beloved Labrador retrievers. And I almost forgot Uber drivers (until the self-driving ones are perfected). Retail? Nope - except for or course Amazon-Whole Foods). Tech-geek millennials buy all their homogeneous accoutrements online - mosty from Amazon - so I guess lots of low-wage Fedex and now low-wage-non-union UPS jobs - until Amazon perfects its delivery drones.
And then there are the real-estate speculators. Basically, tech-gentrification benefits the already-rich, and practically nobody else.
What is the advantage to the city that “wins”? It is as you say, but . . .
. . . it is a win for the real-estate industry and rentals industry as their profits will go up with Amazon moving in. In most cities the real-estate interests have considerable influence, if not control of the city councils. In other words, the people who decide whether to entice Amazon to their city will largely get the citizens to pay the costs while the deciders will reap the profits. For the deciders it is a no-brainer, except that they have to figure out how to sell the decision to the citizens.
The 0.01 % play by different rules, while enriching themselves and their bought and paid for politicians.
Mitt Romney put $150,000,000 tax free into his retirement funding for one year. The peasants are limited to $50,000 plus change.
We had the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. How about the Bezos Plan to rebuild the Carribean?
Think big, Jeff.
I’ve heard the same speculation. If Pittsburgh “wins”, I hope you get a better deal than we got in Boston when the mayor bent over to get GE to come to town.
I remember going to a Polish wedding in Pittsburgh in the 80s. That was local culture!
The biggest problem of globalization is that everything becomes identical.
And Amazon will host yearly “events” and the mayor and city council and local business owners will be invited and they can all clink their wine glasses together and go "bleh, bleh bleh, blah blah blah blah and they can all feel “really special” and maybe they can even meet some faux journalists from Jeff Bezo’s daily mackerel wrapper, The Washington Post, maybe even meet some burnouts from the CIA or has been politicians like Hillary and spend the rest of their miserable lives telling people who they shook hands with…
Communities “partnering” with corps in whatever fashion is a recipe for domestic abuse
Bezos is as bad as Trump. He is a con. He destroyed cities just like Wallmart. He has made America worse, no visiting bookstores anymore to browse and see what is opening up new doors, no coffee with newspapers and magazines. He conned many if not all states to give him a tax break I. E no sales tax so he could put bookstores who paid local, state and county taxes out of business. When Amazon first started he flatly said he would design his business so he never paid tax. Never. Takes but does not give, a total sociopath. Tax his ass double now to make up for all his tax breaks, and tax corporations like his on their gross income, Bezos makes sure his net is protected by various cons. The only fair tax is on gross income of corporations.
Gentrification in spades… The Bezos model is exactly like the Boeing business plan: seek areas that offer no business taxes, require no environmental impact report, offer low wages (preferably in Right-To-Work states), and provide free access to water resources. Then when business slows down, they lay off thousands of workers to make sure the bottom line is not adversely affected (translation: shareholders get their dividends and the execs get their bonuses with the blessings of the BoD).
This completely reveals that the USA is the land of milk and honey for the plutocrats and the oligarchs. We are at the point in time when big business glamorize the demand-- through competition between interested municipalities – for a whopper corporate welfare package. Hell, they don’t even bother to hide it any more.
They don’t have a care in the world as to what the common working class men and women think or suffer because of their actions. Amazon is PROUD to be a corporate welfare queen.
Let’s call this what is … LEGALIZED THEFT from the community and the commoners individually by having to cover the cost of the corporate welfare package to be granted by the “winning” bid.
While this will be a “win” for Amazon and their stockholders; it will be a huge "loss’ for the community and common working class members of the community.
“Daily mackerel wrapper”…priceless…thank you for the belly laugh!
In addition, Romney gets to write off his wife’s very expensive equestrian hobby every year into perpetuity.